They call him a prophet. Bob Marley. In one of his timeless songs entitled WAR, he preaches, “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior, is finally, and permanently discredited, and abandoned, everywhere is war, me say war…”
The wailing Jamaican philosopher goes on to list other conditions for peace within the human race, singing, “Until there are no longer, first-class and second-class citizens of any nation, until the colour of a man’s skin, is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes, me say war.
“Until the basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all, without regard to race, dis a war…”
Biologists and environmentalists, however, opine that the competition for food, land, resources etc within the ecosystem is the reason why man violated the peace of the paradise bequeathed at creation, and replaced it with the hate of hell.
As man can never meet the conditions for global peace, it behoves the most intelligent creature, man, to provide cushions to ameliorate the agonies of war. This was what the United States of America, along with other responsible nations worldwide, did when it evacuated its citizens from war-ravaged Sudan, some days ago.
On April 29, 2023, exactly two weeks after deadly military fighting escalated in Sudan, the US evacuated hundreds of Americans, Green Card holders, and citizens of allied nations in a convoy of buses escorted by armed drones over a journey of 800 kilometres.
Before the unmanned drone rescue of private citizens, US special operations troops had flown to Khartoum, the Sudan capital, on April 22, and airlifted American embassy officials and other government personnel.
As respected nations worldwide utilised a ceasefire of hostilities by warring Sudanese military factions to rescue their trapped citizens, the airlifting of over 300 Nigerians, especially students, trapped in Sudan to Egypt, was partly made possible by a Nigerian businessman who owns Air Peace, Mr Allen Onyema.
After spending an undisclosed amount of foreign exchange to unveil Nigeria’s national carrier at the Farnborough Air Show in England, on July 18, 2018, retired Major General Muhammadu Buhari’s 419 national aeroplanes have yet to land in Nigeria.
Just some days ago, the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, insisted the Nigerian national carrier will commence operations before the expiration of Buhari’s administration on May 29, 2023. I’ll renounce my citizenship if this comes to pass.
After seven harrowing days at the Egyptian Arqeen border where they were left at the mercy of the elements, hunger, human and animal attack, war-victim Nigerians were eventually transported back home after highhanded Egyptian authorities had justifiably suspected that the evacuees would disappear into the human network in Egypt.
If Nigerians could abandon their country for war-torn Sudan, it’s a no-brainer to know that they would prefer life in Egypt, the strongest country in Africa, to coming back to Nigeria, the most insecure country in Africa, which they fled.
Nothing typifies the calamity that the Buhari era represents than the revelation that so many Nigerians abandoned the terrible state of education back home to risk their lives in Sudan, of all places. Among those caught in the Sudan crossfire were artisans, traders and other everyday Nigerians, who fled the heat from Buhari’s oven.
The Nigerians in Diaspora Commission headed by Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa, confirmed the airlift of 376 Nigerians, saying two aircraft, Air Peace and NAF C130, lifted Nigerians from Aswan Airport in Egypt to the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Two American civilians, including an Iowan doctor stabbed to death in front of his house, were reportedly killed when fighting broke out in Sudan. No one knows how many Nigerians were killed as a result of the war. I think history, too, might never know. But, it doesn’t take clairvoyance to know what would have transpired in the minds of terrified Nigerians, together with their relatives back home, as they dodge bullets and arrows on their way to Khartoum, where they were evacuated.
This is what is likely to transpire between Nigerian parents and their child in Sudan.
Mama: (Weeping, she grips her husband’s clothes by the collar) Baba Jide! Baba Jide, but I warned you not to send our only son to Sudan to read ooo! I advised we send him to America or England; see what’s happening now, I’m dead! Jide’s phone is not even connecting again! Mo gbe!
Baba Jide: After working for government for more than 35 years, my gratuities and pension have not been paid.
Mama Jide: There he goes again, Mr Integrity! Who’s talking about your paltry pension and gratuity? Did you not see Baba Emeka and Baba Danladi? Are both, not your juniors? Aren’t their children abroad studying?
Baba Jide: Did you not see what happened to former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu? Justice can catch up with crime anytime.
Mama Jide: At least, he was there for his daughter. Were you there for your son?
Baba Jide: Yes, I was there for my son, Jide. It’s the political elite that Ekweremadu represents that brought Nigeria to its knees and made Nigerians fugitives in their own country, and destitute abroad. If Ekweremadu and his ilk did the right things, Jide won’t be held hostage by the war in Sudan. He, Ekweremadu, himself won’t attempt to redeem the life of his daughter with the life of the hawker.
Mama Jide: He will soon be free..
Baba Jide: After 10 years.
Mama Jide: He will spend about six years and come home to enjoy his money.
Baba Jide: He should have got a life sentence. 99.9% of Nigerian political leaders deserve life sentences. They steal and give themselves severance packages that include fat allowances, buildings and cars.
Mama Jide: And you live in this rathole, lamenting and pontificating about integrity!? Even the retired Major General Integrity has stored up enough dollars to spend and also use as firewood should NNPC fail to provide gas cooking.
Baba Jide: What a life! Is that the kind of life you’re proud of? A predatory life that feeds on the masses’ blood.
Mama Jide: Eja ni eja n je sanra; fish swallows fish in the deep. Wealth and blessings are from God. Oyinbo people and their hypocrisy. If Ekweremadu was a white British senator, no judge would’ve sentenced him.
Baba Jide: Are Yahoo and ritual money from God? Haven’t you heard of white celebrities sentenced to jail? The organ-harvesting senator should thank his chi that he got only 10 years. You think British judges are like Nigerian judges?
Jide: Mummy! Mummy, can you hear me? Mummy, can you…?
Mama Jide: I can hear you, my son! Olorun seun, I thank God! Where are you now?
Jide: I’m still hiding on the treetop. I have suffered, a scorpion has bitten me. (Bursts into tears)
Mama Jide: (Joins Jide in crying) It’s your father who won’t do the right thing that caused all this and he’s not even remorseful or…
Baba Jide: Or what!? Join in stealing? I never will!
Mama Jide: Oya, tell you integrity to go and bring my son from Sudan. If anything happens to my son, Baba Jide, God will receive two visitors o.
Jide: Daddy, Emeka Kalu and Danladi Usman, the children of your friends, are graduating from Harvard and Cambridge respectively this year, yet I’m in Sudan, unsure if I will live or die.
Baba Jide: You will live in Jesus’ name.
Mama Jide: Leave God out of this! Didn’t you say God doesn’t give money?
Jide: Daddy, you need to rethink your anti-corruption posture because corruption has overtaken Nigeria completely. Why are politicians richer when leaving office than when they come in? More players have died on the pitch after Samuel Okwaraji because nothing has changed in Nigeria’s healthcare system since August 12, 1989.
Baba Jide: Uhmm.
Jide: Kanu Nwankwo might have also slumped and died on the pitch because there was no way his ailment could’ve been discovered at club or national level. Daddy, we both watch soccer; look at Christian Eriksen who suffered cardiac arrest while playing for Denmark 22 months ago. He was resuscitated; today, he plays professional soccer with Manchester United, using implanted cardiac machines. Can that ever happen in Nigeria? Nigeria’s gone, daddy, don’t go with it.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Facebook: @Tunde Odesola; Twitter: @Tunde_Odesola.
Published in The PUNCH, on Friday, May 12, 2023.